Totally insane. Yet this was what was pondered.
New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman reports that NBC News executives tried to hire comedian Jon Stewart to host “Meet the Press.”
Before choosing Chuck Todd, the show’s current moderator, “NBC News president Deborah Turness held negotiations with Jon Stewart about hosting Meet the Press, according to three senior television sources with knowledge of the talks,” Sherman reports. “One source explained that NBC was prepared to offer Stewart virtually ‘anything’ to bring him over. ‘They were ready to back the Brinks truck up,’ the source said.”
An NBC News spokesperson declined to comment for Sherman’s piece, and James Dixon, Stewart’s agent, did not respond.
Appointing a comedian to one of the most coveted jobs in political journalism may seem implausible, but Turness was desperate for a fix. With the show consistently ranking third behind ABC’s and CBS’ Sunday offerings, she had considered changing the name and even canceling it, sources previously told POLITICO. That Turness was considering such diverse and radical options right up until the end tells you just how uncertain she was about the appropriate solution.